Ian Allan's Mailbag
Posted Oct. 01 at 04:44 AM
Publisher Ian Allan fields your questions on strategy, how to run your league, player ratings -- and whatever else you think of. Updated every Friday during the season; Tuesdays and Fridays during the last two months of the preseason. You must be registered and signed-in to submit a mailbag question. After you sign in at the top of the page, the link to submit a mailbag question will become visible.
I've already kept Michael Crabtree once as an 11th-round pick. I'll have the option of keeping him twice more, as a 9th and 7th rounder. Each team can keep three players. He's riding my bench now. Should I continue to carry him to keep him next?
Steven Schipper [winnipeg, MB]
Right now, I would say he probably won’t be selected before the ninth round in 2011. He’s not producing. They don’t have a great quarterback there, and Crabtree just doesn’t look like a difference-maker receiver. The speed isn’t there, that’s for sure, and work ethic seems to be an issue with him. He’s not that big, either. A team beat writer just observed that of the 19 passes that have been thrown to Crabtree, only 6 have been completed and 4 have been intercepted. Crabtree definitely will never develop into a receiver who’s beating defenses over the top, and I don’t see him as a Larry Fitzgerald type who catches the ball well in traffic. Maybe he can play his way into being a guy who gets selected in the seventh or eighth round next year, but I think if you see a more enticing guy available on the waiver wire, you go ahead and make that move.
Just thinking ahead. How should fantasy leagues do scheduling and playoffs with the proposed 18-game NFL schedule? We have a 10 team league with 2 divisions of 5 teams where you play each team in your division twice and each team in the other division once with a 3 week playoff system (no games Week 17). Curious if you had some good ideas?
Cody Hager [ALOHA, OR]
Good question. Right now, they’re playing 16 games in 17 weeks. When they go to 18 games, it likely will be a 19- or 20-week season (they might add a second bye). If it’s 20 weeks, you could have each team play twice in the regular season, with the top two teams meeting in a championship game in Week 19. Maybe use week 20 for a Pro Bowl. If they go for the 19-week format, you’ll want to wrap up your schedule in the championship game in Week 18. If you’re using three weeks for playoffs, that gives you a couple of extra weeks to work with. One option would be to set up a rotational system, with each team playing two extra games against teams in the other division. (So each year, each team would play two of the out-of-division opponents twice, and the other three just once). If you moved your championship game back to Week 17, there would be only one of these types of game. You could set it up that each year, teams play their extra game against the team from the other conference that finished with the same record (the two 5th-place teams play each other twice; the two 4th-place teams play each other twice; and so on).
Would you roster Ivory of the Saints in a PPR dynasty league? I would have to drop Blount, Edelman, Brandon Tate, Britt or Hardesty. Blount seems to be carving out a role in Tampa and I am thin at RB.
Spencer Frost [BURLINGTON, WI]
Britt is the only guy on that list who’s untouchable; you have to hang onto him. I would also be a little nervous about dropping Edelman, since I think he’ll be Wes Welker some day. But you might be willing drop Tate for a few weeks; he’s OK, but is he ever going to develop into a reliable star wide receiver? Probably not. And with Hardesty, you’ve got a hurt guy eating up a roster spot all year. I’m sure the Browns will obtain a running back in the offseason, and he’ll probably be a guy who’s more coveted than Hardesty. Blount and Ivory are similar; maybe they can grow into something. With Ivory, you’ve got the added advantage that the guy ahead of him is already hurt – he’ll play for the next month. Pierre Thomas didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday, so Ivory might even be their main back this week.
Looking at the week 4 RB rankings, I'm not sure I understand Ahmad Bradshaw’s rank of #9? Your capsule mentions Chicago has been good against the run, and that the G-men will air it out. Bradshaw will be involved in the passing game, agreed, but hard to see him catching enough balls to warrant his rank. What am I missing here?
TOMMY LUCKNER [ANDOVER, KS]
The Bears have been very good against the run. They shut down the Lions, they shut down the Packers. Now, neither of those teams can run the ball worth a hoot, but look at what Chicago did in Week 2 at Dallas. Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice combined to run for only 37 yards on 19 carries. You my initial read is that Bradshaw isn’t a guy you want to start this week. It’s not a good matchup for him. On the flip side, however, who are you putting ahead of him. When you go down the list of running backs, there just aren’t a lot of good options there. Rashard Mendenhall? His matchup looks even worse. LeSean McCoy? Maybe, but inside the 5, I’m not sure he’s any more likely to score a rushing touchdown than Michael Vick. I like Justin Forsett of the Seahawks, but there’s some risk there. And let’s give Bradshaw some credit for being a pretty good back. He carried 20 times for 76 yards and a TD against a very good Carolina defense (though I’ll concede he was largely shut down in that game – he broke a 39-yard run late). He ran 17 times for 89 yards at Indianapolis. And he carried 15 times for 88 yards and a touchdown against the Titans, who are also good against the run.
Nate Kaeding is killing me. He's the #30 kicker in my eight man league. We give kickers 3 for 0-39 yds, 5 for 40-49, and a whopping 10 for 50+. The top free agents are Nugent, Reed, and Bryant. Which one will be the best from here on? Which one can I pick up and start the rest of the season?
Eric Schmit [KEIZER, OR]
All four of those guys, I think, will be good kickers. Bryant doesn’t have as much range as the others, but he has the benefit of kicking in a dome. Reed and Nugent have to deal with more weather conditions; particularly Reed, who’s outside for every game in November and December. For this week, I think Kaeding and Bryant stand out as the best options; their teams should win easily.
So who is the number one receiver in Denver? Lloyd, Gaffney or Royal. I have Gaffney and Lloyd and not sure who to start.
David Kennedy [STEAMBURG, NY]
I don’t think you can count on any one guy. When they’re in two wides, it’s Gaffney and Lloyd. When they go to three, they use Royal in the slot. And now they’re starting to mix in Demaryius Thomas, who may soon be better than any of them. I don’t think you can start any of those receivers with the confidence that he’ll be one of the team’s top 2 pass catchers every week.
I'm the commissioner of a league and I've had a barrage of complaints about rules over the last couple weeks. First off, how many points is standard for a safety (1 point sacks, 3 point turnovers)? We give 5 (and have for 8 years) 2 for the points, and 3 for the turnover of the ball. The most interesting complaint however, dealt with having starting lineups in before noon on Sunday. Is this the way most leagues do it? And what is the reasoning? We've just always done it that way, and one owner feels it is ludicrous that we can't wait for inactives for the late afternoon games, Sunday Night game, and Monday Night game. Your thoughts?
Nathan Miller [JANESVILLE, WI]
I’m in leagues operated by four different groups. Three of them give 2 points for safeties; one gives 5 points. I think it makes sense to give more points for a safety than for an interception or fumble, but it’s not something I’ve ever thought about – safeties are so rare, that I just ignore them in my preparations. I just checked the numbers: there have been only 150 safeties in the last 10 years. The lineup question, I think, is more compelling. I say the fewer rules the better. Give owners access to more information and more ability to coach their teams. I’m strongly opposed to locking lineups an hour before games start. I prefer the option of letting owners adjust their lineup as long as the player in question hasn’t taken the field. I don’t see the harm in letting somebody change their lineup if they find out somebody isn’t playing in the Monday night game.
Right now, if you had to choose between Tony Romo and Brett Favre week in and week out, who would you choose?
Bob Williamson [Lancaster, TX]
Romo, definitely. I have huge concerns about Favre. Age is an issue, and I think he really misses Sidney Rice. There’s no franchise-type receiver in that offense, and that makes it tough. I can’t see him getting up to regularly passing for 250-plus yards and 2 TDs with Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian, Greg Camarillo and Greg Lewis.
When is Jeff Otah coming back for the Panthers? Comments have been made that the o-line is not blocking well, so obviously his return will help. Do you think it will help significantly, or has the team just gotten stale on Fox and isn’t trying anymore?
JEFF FOSTER [CHICO, CA]
Otah is expected back after the team’s Week 6 bye. I’m not sure, however, that he’s the problem. The team just can’t pass the ball at all right now, so defenses are loading up against the run. Getting Otah back will help, of course, but passing the ball effectively, I think, is the key to getting the ground game going again.
Is it time to just shut down Calvin Johnson until Stafford comes back? He's killing me and there are lesser receivers with better match-ups who are scoring many more points.
JOHN RUPPE [FORT MYERS, FL]
The Lions are playing at Green Bay this week, so this could be a week where you plug in somebody else for Johnson. The Packers are tough against the pass and tough against good receivers. They shut down DeSean Jackson and Lee Evans in the first two weeks of the season. But I wouldn’t hang it all on Shaun Hill. When Matthew Stafford was at quarterback in the first half of the first game, Johnson didn’t catch a pass. And when the Lions played Green Bay on Thanksgiving last year – again, with Stafford at quarterback – Johnson caught only 2 passes for 10 yards. A talented guy to be sitting down, though; Johnson caught 15 passes for 231 yards and 4 TDs in two games against the Packers two years ago.
With the big game that Peyton Hillis just had what is the long-term prognosis for the Cleveland rushing attack? I have already had one trade offer. Is Hillis going to be the main ball carrier or will it RBBC?
JOHN SHELBROCK [FRANKENMUTH, MI]
Hillis is evidence that the preseason games actually matter. I remember watching him crash for yards in a game against the Rams and thinking, “hey, this guy is going to be a factor – he’s going to be their goal-line back.” He takes a lot of punishment, so it could be hard for him to stay healthy and they’ll have to be careful not to burn him out. But I think he’ll be their main runner. Maybe he gets 15-20 carries in a lot of games, and their No. 2 back (usually Jerome Harrison, but maybe James Davis at some point) runs the ball about 5-10 times.
Do you watch "The League" on FX? Have you contacted them to get yourself a guest appearance?
L DALE GANDER [SUN PRAIRIE, WI]
I have heard about this show. I will try to watch it this week. It potentially could be pretty funny. The NFL Network and ESPN have both made a number of funny commercials built around fantasy football in recent years. But I don't think they'd be interested in a guy with a squeaky voice and a made-for-radio face.
Could you please rank which teams would potentially spend a high draft choice next year on a running back. In particular, please include where Washington, Tampa Bay, New England, and Seattle are in this ranking.
DENNIS RUEBEL [GREEN BAY, WI]
I would bet that all four of those teams add a significant running back in the offseason, whether it be by draft or free agency. Other teams that definitely will add a runner who’ll be their No. 1 or No. 2 would include Cleveland, Green Bay, Jacksonville, St. Louis and the Giants. Miami, Detroit, Indianapolis, New Orleans and Oakland also should be looking for another tailback.
I am in a league that gives 6 points for touchdown passes. I currently have Brady, Palmer, and picked up Vick early on the waiver wire. I have played Vick the last 2 weeks and have been rewarded. Would you trade Brady for Miles Austin since I have Vick and Palmer? What about either Brady or Vick for Ryan Mathews?
Kent Curtis [Lynnwood, WA]
I would love to move one of those quarterbacks for a guy like Austin or Mathews. My preference would be to move Vick, but I would dish Brady if necessary. All four of those guys have similar value in that type of format. Brady, Austin, Mathews, Vick – that’s how I’d rank them.
What is going on with the 49ers? I hardly ever sacrifice more than the league minimum when drafting my two Ds every year. The one time I spend a little extra to get this 'D' and it looks like they are going to be a major bust. They looked like such a lock to rack up big points in that terrible NFC West division. Any chance that they could turn things around?
Scott DENHAM [PRATTVILLE, AL]
I don’t think they’ll do much this week in Atlanta; Matt Ryan isn’t the kind of quarterback who takes many sacks or throws many interceptions. But I still think they can turn things around and win the NFC West. They still have five games left against the Seahawks, Rams and Cardinals. I’d use a fill-in this week but hang onto the 49ers.
With so many RB issues at hand, what are your thoughts on the remainder of the season for the following: Ryan Torain, LeGarrette Blount and even Reggie Bush (if and when he returns) in a 12 team PPR league?
GARY ALLEN [DANIEL ISLAND, SC]
I’ll go with Bush out of that group. He catches a lot of passes, and his rehab is supposedly going well. He should return in early November, and he could make a nice impact from that point going forward.
I have to pick up a second defense this week, with Minnesota off for their bye. No problem finding one, bigger problem figuring out who I'm going to cut for the week and hopefully be able to pick back up next week. I have S. Jackson, Foster, Hillis, McFadden and Portis at RB, Jennings, M. Wallace, Sims-Walker and Lance Moore at WR. I just picked up Moore to team with Drew Brees, so don't want to cut him. I like Wallace's potential once Big Ben gets back in the lineup, so I'm thinking of cutting Sims-Walker ... or Clinton Portis. I started Portis last week and got burned against St. Louis. If he's only going to get 7 carries against STL, how can I ever trust starting him this year? Of course, Sims-Walker has been completely non-existent at WR in 2 of the 3 games so, who knows? Would you rather cut Sims-Walker or Portis with my roster? Hopefully it will just be for one week, but you never know. If I had to lose one of these guys, which one do you suggest?
CHUCK BAILEY [SPRINGBORO, OH]
Jennings and Wallace, I think, are your starting receivers. Once Roethlisberger comes back, those will be the guys you’ll be starting every week. So who’s your No. 3 receiver. I think it’s Sims-Walker, so I guess that means you either release Portis or Lance Moore. I consider Portis to be the more valuable of that pair. Maybe you could trade one of those guys. Or maybe you just take a zero at the defense position for a week.
Please look into your crystal ball and tell me the long-term futures of mercurial players C.Portis, K.Britt, R.Meachem, J.Maclin and A.Bradshaw. Are any of these guys going to be must-start, team foundation players?
Eugene Hitt [GARRISON, NY]
Maclin’s a talented young guy; he’ll be starting in the league for years. Britt is probably a year away from being a receiver who starts every game; he’s got talented. I’m not sure that Meachem will ever get it going; he can’t seem to separate himself from Lance Moore and Devery Henderson. Portis is nearing the end of the road, while Ahmad Bradshaw is probably going to play the best ball of his career this year – he’s 24 and in a contract year. Bradshaw weighs only 198 pounds, so he’ll probably never get as many carries as he’s getting right now.
I'm curious about what you think of Heyward-Bey's chances of breaking out this year are. Since Gradkowski took over as the starter in Oakland, he has targeted DHB 23 times in 2 games. If this keeps up, it has to mean good yardage and TDs for him, right?
MARK THOMPSON [LIVERMORE, CA]
There are about 64 starting wide receivers in the league. Maybe Heyward-Bey can work his way up to about No. 50 this year. He seems to be coming along. But I wouldn’t say that he’s there yet. He’s caught only 10 of the 26 passes thrown to him this season – 8 of 20 since Gradkowski took over at halftime of the second game.
So Ian, what do you think is the real deal with Vincent Jackson. Is he worth keeping on a roster in hopes he signs and makes an impact in the second half of the season, or should we just cut bait on him?
David Zendano [NORTH TONAWANDA, NY]
He might sit out the whole year. But with his upside, I think he's worth stashing with a final roster spot. He could be a solid player during the second half of the season.
I am about to trade Calvin Johnson for DeSean Jackson and a 2nd-round pick. To me, I think this is a very fair trade but would really appreciate your thoughts. Johnson has been underperforming for two years, and it’s time I move him I think.
JOHN SHELBROCK [FRANKENMUTH, MI]
I think you jump at that deal. I think most people would see Johnson and Jackson as being pretty similar – Jackson is definitely better right now, while Johnson might have a better long-term future. But when you throw in the second-rounder, I think it’s an easy decision.
I'm in a 12-team keeper league (we protect 7 players). The format is yardage + TDs. I have Romo, Vick, and Sanchez as QBs - and can get either Addai or Colston. My RBs of note are Gore, Bradshaw, Ricky Williams, and Brandon Jackson. WRs are Fitzgerald, TO, and Knox. I have Gates as my flex. Who makes more sense for me, Addai or Colston?
Ralph Giovenco [CARY, NC]
For a keeper league, I’d go with Colston. Addai is in a contract year, and I’m not sure the Colts will bring him back next year.
Question 3: Would you roster Ivory of...
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Oct. 01 at 07:33 AM
I think you should ask the Commissioner about adding an injured reserve spot where you could stash Hardesty for the year and he wouldn't count against your roster size. He's not counting against the Browns' roster until 2011, why should he count against yours? Failing that, personally I'd drop Tate first, but in both cases you're running the risk of cutting someone who could turn out to be pretty good. I'd hate to give up on Hardesty just because of this injury.
Question 7: I'm the commissioner of a...
Posted by Roy Sherman | Oct. 01 at 11:11 AM
Our league allows lineup changes up to 5 minutes before a player's start time. It works great if the players you need to choose between are both starting late, but if one plays early and the other late, you still have to decide before the early player starts.
Question 10: Is it time to just...
Posted by Michael Stanco | Oct. 03 at 04:41 AM
Ian, NEVER and I mean NEVER sit a #1 WR, unless he isn't playing. Come on now. You get paid to do this.
Question 17: I have to pick up...
Posted by Marco Tavares | Oct. 01 at 02:36 PM
Why don't you just drop the Minn D?
Question 20: So Ian, what do you...
Posted by Eugene Hitt | Oct. 02 at 02:26 AM
Hey Ian, you're the F@#!ing man. straight up. I asked the question because I have an opportunity to trade Maclin, Portis and Torain for Bradshaw, K.Walter and M.Manningham. Maclin and Bradshaw are the centerpieces as they're both keep able, (Maclin's a 8 next year and Bradshaw's a 7). I already have Mendenhall(4th next year) Austin(7th) and M.Ryan(11th) penciled in as my 3 keepers. I figure that I can use Bradshaw for a few weeks when the schedule is easy and then move him to someone else as a nice keeper option, being that I'm a New Yorker and my whole league bleeds blue.. I'm also figuring that Maclin's value is about as high as its ever going to be. The eagles are bound to come back down to earth eventually. My question is, does this make sense? My other WR's are M.Austin,S.Moss and R.Williams. Maclin's my #3 and Portis is my defacto#3 RB. I think that Walter is comparable or I'll play the waiver wire. In the BS world of fantasy "experts"... yours is the only one that counts. What would you do?
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